Free family programs, concerts, performances and demonstrations are featured in the Smithsonian Institution's "America's Millennium on the Mall," Dec. 31 through Jan. 2 from 11:30 to 5 in three museums: The Hirshhorn Gallery and Sculpture Garden, the National Museum of American History and the National Museum of Natural History.

The events are free, but tickets will be required. The tickets will be mailed to those who call and reserve them. Call 202/786-9115 (TDD: 202/633-9467) between 9 and 5 Monday through Friday. The ticket giveaway will end Dec. 17. Unclaimed seats will be given to standbys just before each event. Halls will be cleared after each event. For more information about Smithsonian activities, call 202/357-2700 (TDD: 202/357-1729).

The schedule of events:

National Museum Of Natural History, Baird Auditorium, 10th Street and Constitution Avenue NW (Metro: Federal Triangle).

Dec. 31

11:30 a.m. -- NBA Hall of Fame player Bill Russell and Washington Mystics players Chamique Holdsclaw and Nikki McCray will discuss "Basketball: We Come to Play."

1 p.m. -- Music star Ricky Skaggs discusses and demonstrates "Bluegrass: America's Roots Music."

2:30 p.m. -- Scholar Clay Jenkinson and activist Julian Bond discuss the "Paradox of Thomas Jefferson."

4 p.m. -- Actress Elizabeth Perry plays a women's rights advocate in "Sunflower: The Life and Loves of Elizabeth Cady Stanton."

Jan. 1

11:30 a.m. -- Susan Butcher, four-time dog sled race champion, discusses "Iditarod: The Last Great Race."

1 p.m. -- Historian Philip Bock stars as the jurist in "Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes: A Clear & Present Danger."

2:30 p.m. -- Actor Edward James Olmos examines the history of Latino Americans in "Americanos."

4 p.m. -- Actors Ossie Davis and Ruby Dee enact vignettes from American history in "Making History."

Jan. 2

Noon -- Sports photographer Walter Iooss on "Capturing the Moment: 40 Years of Sports Photography."

2 p.m. -- Noel Pugach, a history professor at the University of New Mexico, on "Harry Truman: Good Horse Sense, Decency & Guts."

4 p.m. -- Legendary bluesman B.B. King and National Endowment for the Humanities Chairman Bill Ferris discuss "Blues: Past & Future."

National Museum Of American History, Carmichael Auditorium, 14th Street and Constitution Avenue NW (Metro: Federal Triangle, Smithsonian).

Dec. 31

Noon -- Sweet Honey in the Rock founder Bernice Johnson Reagon sings and discusses songs of the civil rights movement in "I Remember, I Believe."

1:30 p.m. -- Author/illustrator David Wisniewski on "Words & Pictures."

3 p.m. -- Children's author/illustrator Yumi Heo on "A Heritage in Pictures & Words."

Jan. 1

11:30 a.m. -- Children's song leader Ella Jenkins on "The Future Is Our Children."

1 p.m. -- National Book Award recipient Virginia Hamilton on "Virginia Hamilton Reads Out Loud."

2:30 p.m. -- Author Gayle Ross on "Rabbit Meets Coyote: Trickster Tales."

4 p.m. -- Author/storyteller Jose Griego on "Cuentos & Songs From Northern New Mexico."

Jan. 2

Noon -- Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra Quintet presents a jazz workshop.

1:30 p.m. -- Storyteller Marc Spiegel on "Fantasy for the Universal Child."

3 p.m. -- The Freestyle Union presents "SLAM! Poetry for Young People."

Hirshhorn Museum And Sculpture Garden, Seventh Street and Independence Avenue SW, Ring Auditorium (Metro: L'Enfant Plaza).

Dec. 31

Noon -- Physicist Neil Gershenfeld and other scholars from MIT discuss "Glimpsing the Future: Technologies for the Millennium."

1:15 p.m. -- Christopher Chyba, Kent Cullers and Dan Werthimer, from the SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) Institute, discuss "Searching for Extraterrestrial Life in the New Millennium."

2:30 p.m. -- Professor Ray Kurzweil discusses "The Age of Spiritual Machines."

3:45 p.m. -- Officials of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention discuss "Are Humans Endangered?"

Jan. 1

Noon -- Author/sportswriter John Feinstein talks about "Can Sports Be Mended in the New Millennium?"

1:15 p.m. -- Physicists Neil Gershenfeld and Philip Morrison, 8-year-old David Dalrymple, 16-year-old Hillary McQuaide and MIT doctoral candidate Yael Maguire discuss "What's in Your Future?"

2:30 p.m. -- Chefs Martin Yan, Vertamae Grosvenor and Raji Jallepalli discuss "The Future of American Taste."

4:30 p.m. -- U.S. Poet Laureate Robert Pinsky on "The Future of Literature."

Jan. 2

Noon -- "The Future of Planet Earth," speakers TBA.

1:15 p.m. -- Writer Virginia Postrel on "The Open Future: Progress Without a Plan."

2:30 p.m. -- "The Future of Democracy," speakers TBA.

3:45 p.m. -- "The Prospect of Peace," speakers TBA.

At the National Air and Space Museum, Sixth Street and Constitution Avenue NW (Metro: L'Enfant Plaza), children will be invited to participate in the Mars Millennium Project, a contest to design a village settlement on Mars. The museum is open from 10 to 5:30 daily.